City officials were on hand Monday in the Bronx to celebrate the opening of the borough's first outreach center dedicated to helping victims of domestic abuse. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
The New York City Police Department responds to 650 domestic violence calls a day citywide. Of those, 187 calls come from the Bronx -- many of whom are women who say they are being abused.
"It is one of the dirty secrets of society," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
On Monday, city officials opened the Bronx Family Justice Center located at 198 East 161st Street. It's a place that can help women who are victims of physical and emotional harm.
"As an immigrant woman I was especially afraid to speak about my ordeal. I was as many women scared and didn't know where to turn to for help. Today I am here to tell all the victims of abuse, that the family justice center is here to help you when you are in need," said one Bronx resident.
The city already has family justice centers in Brooklyn and Queens. The Bronx is the third such location, a sort of one stop shop where women can get protection, legal help, immigration assistance and a lot more.
"I know some people worry 'Well, you know, they'll take my kids away from me.' No. They're gonna worry about 'Well I won't have a place to sleep.' No. 'I won't have food,' No. We will take care of all of those things. The most important thing is if you are a victim, pick up the phone," Bloomberg said.
In an effort to reduce domestic violence here in the Bronx, officials say they are going to concentrate heavily on the west side of the borough from 161st Street up to Bedford Park Boulevard.
"That are is where we have unfortunately over the last six years had a concentration of domestic violence homicides. Sixty-one percent of all homicides in the borough of the Bronx occur within this five community district area," said Domestic Violence Commissioner Yolanda Jimenez.
If you are looking for help, you can call the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-621-HOPE or 311.